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Luftzeugamt Research Thread

RyanE

Baby Face
Staff member
I have been doing some research (if you can call it that) on the Luftwaffe’s depot system and thought I would share where I am and throw a theory out for everyone to kick around a bit.

The first Fliegerzeugamter were opened in April 1934 and were fully established by late 1936/37.

LZAs in September 1937:
Luftkreis II (Berlin): LZA Jüterbog-Altes, LZA Schwerin-Görries
Luftkreis III (Dresden): LZA Kölleda
Luftkreis IV (Münster): LZA Göttingen, LZA Rotenburg
Luftkreis V (München): LZA Erding
Luftkreis VI (Kiel): LZA (See) Travermunde-Pötenitz (for sea planes)
Luftkreis I (Königsberg) was not given an LZA due to East Prussia's vulnerability.

In February 1938, the Luftwaffe undertook a significant reorganization and expansion. Luftkreise were disbanded and used to form Luftwaffengruppenkommandos (soon renamed Luftflotte), and the Luftgaue were reorganized to basically match the Army's Wehrkreise. The basic chain of command circa 1939 (best I can figure anyway):
OKL=>Luftflotte=>Luftgaukommando=>(Feld)Luftzeuggruppe=>(Feld)Luftzeugamt

It gets harder to track at this point because the Luftwaffe was regularly shifting Luftgau borders, creating new ones, and disbanding and consolidating old ones throughout the war. At some point in 1941/42, they also began numbering these depots using a depot/district system. For example, LZA Erding was the first LZA in Luftgau IV, so it was given the name Luftzeugamt 1/IV. However, it seems that the Germans continued to refer to them by name of the city they were located in.

1939-1944 LZAs:
Luftgau I (Königsberg): No LZA
Luftgau II (Posen): No LZA
Luftgau III (Berlin): LZA Jüterbog-Altes (1/III), moved to Finow sometime in late 1941
Luftgau IV (Dresden): LZA Kölleda (1/IV), Luftgau absorbed by LGIII in 1941.
Luftgau VI (Munster): LZA Göttingen (1/VI), moved to LZA Küpper in 1939? LZA later reestablished(?) as 3/VI.
Luftgau VII (Munich): LZA Erding (1/VII)
Luftgau VIII (Breslau): LZA Liegnitz (3/XI), moved to Liegnitz in 1939 from Rotenburg
LZA Sagan-Küpper (1/VI), moved from Göttingen in 1939?
Luftgau XI (Hamburg): LZA Schwerin-Görries (1/XI), LZA (See) Travemünde-Pötenitz (2/XI) focused on sea planes, LZA Rotenburg (3/XI) moved to Liegnitz in 1939
Luftgau XII (Wiesbaden): No LZA, absorbed LGXIII in 1941
Luftgau XIII (Nuremburg): No LZA, disbanded 1941
Luftgau XVII (Vienna): LZA Proßnitz-Kosteletz (1/XVII), Proßnitz-Kosteletz, B.u.M

There were also forward LZAs setup in occupied territories. I am unclear on which LG these were subordinated to.
Feld-LZA West (Gosselies, Belgium), apparently a branch of Feld-LZA 2/VI
Feld-LZA Ost (Warsaw) (2/VI,1944 evac to Posen where it was apparently destroyed)
Feld-LZA Metz (1/XII)

There are mentions of several (Feld?)LZAs in France in 1940/41 but I can’t find any information on any of them so (if they actually existed at all) they may have been extremely short lived:
Romily-sur-Seine
Villacoublay
Reims (???)

There were also an extensive number of Luftgau setup in occupied countries at various times:
Westfrankreich, Belgien-Nordfrankreich, Holland, Ostland, Petersburg, Moskau, Kiew, Charkow, Rostow, Süd, Norwegan, Finnland.

Late 1944-1945 was very chaotic as these things disappeared, reformed with new names, etc. It is very confusing and gives me a headache, so I won’t go into it.

All of the above if just what I have been able to figure out from my feeble efforts. There are a lot of Luftwaffe documents on the Luftzeuggruppen and the Nachschubdienste in the Bundesarchiv, so someone with access and a lot of time on their hands could certainly do a much better job figuring out this stuff than I can. There are still more than a few things I am not clear on.


The point of all this, if you have not already figured it out, is to attempt to identify who exactly was reworking rifles and pistols for the Luftwaffe. So far we have LZA1, 2, and 4 rifles, the latter seems to be the most common.

The numbers usually found under the LZA stamps have baffled us for a while. For a while it was thought these might be the Luftgau (or Luftzeuggruppe) of the depot, but LZA1 rifles present a problem because Luftgau/Luftzeuggruppe I had no LZA. It is possible that Feld-LZA Ost was assigned to Luftgau I but I can’t be sure of that. Same is true of Luftgau II in Posen. No LZA. Unfortunately, the Kü Lugers built by LZA Küpper have no number on the LZA beschußstempel, so no help there either. Possible that the depots were numbered 1 to whatever when the depot system was initially created in 1934, perhaps in the order they were opened? I dont't have a good explanation yet.

I think one clue may be the ‘e’ block LZA depot build rifles. They are all LZA4 marked, and I don’t think the ‘e’ is just random. I would speculate that the ‘e’ may be for Erding. There are quite a lot of these e block builds and Erding happens to be in Bavaria. Bavaria was of course occupied by the US after the war and no doubt GIs picked the LZA’s lagers clean. This might explain why there are so many of these, relatively speaking, in the US. At least as far as that goes, I think the pieces fit.

Another possibility for the LZA4 rifles is that LZA Göttingen was originally created in Luftkreis IV under Luftzeuggruppe 4. The depot apparently fell within Luftgau VI territory later, but it seems the Luftzeuggruppe may not have changed? This depot was apparently moved to Küpper in 1939 (though LZA Göttingen seemed to have remained open under a new staff). So perhaps LZA4 is Küpper? Would fit if the assumptions are correct, but no good explanation for the 'e' blocks or how many there are in the US.

The new piece of the puzzle is the LZA1 depot build posted here. It is apparently an ‘i’ block, which again I do not think is just random. If the letter is the depot, then the only one that fits would be Juterbog. The letters I and J are more or less redundant in German, so its very possible LZA1 is Jüterbog. The number 1 might also fit for Jüterbog since, being located in Berlin’s Luftkreis, it was probably the first LZA opened in 1934. Unfortunately, Jüterbog was moved to Finow sometime in the summer or fall of 1941. Of course, we assume most of these depot builds were done later in 1941 into 1942 which is a problem. So the fit here is not great at best.

The easiest way to solve this is for someone to find an LZA2 depot build!
 

M1903A3

Keeper of the Def's Head
Fascinating stuff! It seems there is an inexhaustible backlog of close to unknowable things where WWII firearms are concerned. Good luck on your quest and thank you for sharing a glimpse of it.


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mrfarb

No War Eagles For You!
Staff member
The Luftwaffe depot system is a nightmare to research for English speakers, especially as it relates to small arms. Airfields were popular bombing targets I suspect so some were obliterated or constantly moved to protect them? And many depots were at airfields for obvious reasons. Add to that the odd system as expressed by Ryan. Good on your for even putting this together. I suspect Küpper was one of the main ones East.

I’m really liking your idea about the letter suffix=facility, has a lot of merit. I need to see if any other odd depot builds have surfaced that might fit this pattern. Nice!


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RyanE

Baby Face
Staff member
Here is a fun Luftzeugamt document I found while doing research. Arry Walther joined the Army in 1936, and moved to the Luftwaffe in 1939 where he served the year 1943 in the Stabkompanie of Feldluftzeugamt 2/VI. The previous two years he served in the Luftgaupostamt in Brussels, so I assume he was in the Feldluftzeugamt in Gosselies, not Warsaw.

In September 44, he somehow ends up in the SS-Totenkopf-Sturmbann in KL Flossenbürg. How do you go from Luftwaffe postman to SS camp guard???
 

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mdarnell19

Beavis Moderator Intern
Staff member
Very interesting thread Ryan. I don't have anything to contribute but your theory seems plausible. Manufacturers use of letter blocks was certainly for a different reason then depots. Thanks for posting!
 

Stan

Senior Member
In September 44, he somehow ends up in the SS-Totenkopf-Sturmbann in KL Flossenbürg. How do you go from Luftwaffe postman to SS camp guard???

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That seems to be a major demotion! Punishment for some offense? In any case, good luck with the research.
 

heavy_mech

RKI- Reasonably Knowledgable Individual
In September 44, he somehow ends up in the SS-Totenkopf-Sturmbann in KL Flossenbürg. How do you go from Luftwaffe postman to SS camp guard???

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That seems to be a major demotion! Punishment for some offense? In any case, good luck with the research.
Back to the Hogan's Heroes references... "I've have you sent to the Russian Front!" Seems a plausible theory.
 

RyanE

Baby Face
Staff member
That seems to be a major demotion! Punishment for some offense? In any case, good luck with the research.
No. A lot of Luftwaffe troops ended up in guard service at the camps in the later years of the war. A lot of the SS guards were shipped out to front duty due to manpower shortages, and were backfilled by non-combat types.

I was just making a joke.
 

heavy_mech

RKI- Reasonably Knowledgable Individual
In any case, not likely a pleasant change of scenery, but still beats going to the front!
I'll still double down even regarding RyanE now probably most likely scenario I'd still say that those 'chosen' to go were looked down on somehow within their own command. That's how it worked in every outfit I was ever in. If there was some shit duty or posting it was always one of the underperformers who drew the chit.
 

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